August 3, 2011

Christopher Lao Trends on Twitter. Who is he ?

GMA News Program 24 Oras featured an incident where a motorist attempted to cross a flooded street.   The driver, identified as Christopher Lao, attempted to drive his car across Mother Ignacia Street in Quezon City.  Unfortunately, due to his miscalculation, his car floated midway across the flood as the street's water level was deep at the middle.  When interviewed, he accused MMDA for not rendering the road impassable and not properly informing him not to cross the flood water.


Apparently, the video went viral as most people found it interesting enough to share on social networks Twitter, Facebook and Google+.

Because of this, the name "Christopher Lao" has become a Philippine trending topic on twitter with over 2,500 tweets mentioning his name in a span of a day.  His name became both a Philippine and Worldwide trend on Twitter.  Shares, comments, quotes and jokes on the feature have sprouted making him a viral topic.

In addition, someone created a Facebook fan page for him in ridicule and after a day's creation, an astonishing 11,000 people have followed and liked this page with several comments pouring in.   The photo gallery currently has 58 uploaded photos all related to the incident, most of them aiming to be funny at his expense.

Update as of Aug 4, 2011 7pm:

Less than 24 hours after the Facebook page with 11,000 followers, it's now  over 44,000.  You'll also find other Facebook pages created when you search for his name. There are also over 11,600 mentions of his name on Twitter and he is still trending in the Philippines.

And the public finally hears from him as Christopher Lao issues an official statement about the incident.


Official Statement from Christopher Lao
4 August 2011

The past few days have been very disheartening for me and my family.   As you know I have been a subject of a viral video that showed my helplessness during a trying moment.  As it stands right now, I have several hate pages in Facebook and Twitter with hurtful and derogatory messages attacking my person.  The reputation that I built the past years has been besmirched.   A bad day has now turned into wounded feelings and sleepless nights for me and my family.

I have been silent the past few days as I want this to go away soon but not before saying sorry and thank you to people who matter.

I would like to apologize for my behavior that was seen on nationwide television and now on the internet.  It was unfortunate that I was caught on camera immediately after an overwhelmingly stressful mishap.

I would like to again sincerely  thank those who braved the flood to help a distraught stranger like me.  Their selfless act reminded me of how dependable Filipinos are in times of crisis.

Lastly, I would like to thank my family, friends and all of those who showed empathy, consideration and support throughout these trying times.  You have given me strength and courage to rise above and be a better person.

Sincerely yours,

Christopher Lao


A copy of the statement can be found here.

Update as of Aug. 5, 9:30am:

Christopher Lao is not trending anymore on Twitter, though a related hashtag is now emerging as a Philippine trend on Twitter. The hashtag #ishouldhavebeeninformed comes from quoting Christopher during his interview when he blamed MMDA for not informing him not to cross the flooded street.  The hashtag is used in over 1,5000 tweets mainly in the form of citing a situation and using the hashtag as an excuse for not knowing.

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